Monday, January 09, 2017

Was Jim Bowie Murdered? Or Did He Commit Suicide?

January 8, 2017
   One of the most controversial aspects of the Alamo fight is what happened to the legendary Jim Bowie? He was, of course, the inventor of the most famous pig sticker in the history of the Republic, if not the world.

Daily Whip Out: "Jim Bowie With His Pig Sticker"

   Got a little too much of Porter Wagoner in this sketch, so I wound up and whipped out another one last Friday:

Daily Whip Out: "Jim Bowie With His Big Tennessee Toothpick, No. 1"

   Better, but perhaps a little too Daniel Webster-ish? So, I did another take on Saturday:

Daily Whip Out: "Jim Bowie Cover Idea No. 7"

   I really liked this concept, but my partner, Ken, thought I was being too cute with it, although I still have a hunch the Texas flag would grab some attention on the newsstand. Anyway, Ken wanted to see a more traditional portrait of the fighter. without all my flourishes and gimmicks.

Daily Whip Out: "Jim Bowie Portrait No. 13"

After a dozen more ideas and rough sketches I tried one with the knife a little more prominent:

Daily Whip Out: "Jim Bowie Brandishes Bowie Knife"

   Unfortunately, I think the knife in the first sketch is the best. Dang it all to hell!

   We are doing a cover story on this for the next issue of True West. The preeminent historian and Alamo expert William Groneman III takes us through the lively debate as to whether the famed Alamo defender went down as a gallant hero, fighting to the death, or should history remember him dying as a sick and feeble coward?

"Our friend Bowie, unable to get out of bed, shot himself as the soldiers approached it."
—General Sam Houston


  1. Custer said to "save the last bullet for yourself." Bowie knew there was no quarter and the thought of a dozen bayonets to the belly certainly could have made a bullet to the brain pan sound like a better alternative.

  2. Larry Floyd6:12 PM

    I kind of agree with Ken less knife and more Jim Bowie. Maybe knife horizontal below chest. On the other hand it's your Damn"whip out"

  3. Anonymous6:27 PM

    I choose to believe he went out like in the 1959 Alamo movie

  4. Anonymous6:31 PM

    After a life like he had I do not see him backing down and taking the easy way out. The odds were high but he never ran from a fight.

  5. That is "Arkansas Toothpick"!!!! Not Tennessee. Made in Arkansas by a blacksmith named Black for Bowie.

    1. Yes, it is, in fact known as an Arkansas Toothpick, but I couldn't resist the alliteration.

    2. Yes, it is, in fact known as an Arkansas Toothpick, but I couldn't resist the alliteration.

  6. He wouldnt give them the satisfaction of killing him, since he knew no quarter was being given.

  7. history-buff9:30 PM

    It is said that Bowie was propped -up in his bed with a brace of pistols and probable got a couple of shots off before a volley splattered his brains on the for Custer he suffered 2 in his side and one in his temple..likely the temple shot was self-inflicted

  8. Anonymous11:59 PM

    He might have been sick and feeble but Jim Bowie was no coward.


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